Palestine’s PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) leaders flew to the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York last week to request membership for a Palestinian state.
Threatening the Palestinian bid, once again, is Israel and its staunch ally, the United States.
Behind their opposition to Palestinian statehood, are questions which undoubtedly trouble the two allies: Will the formation of a Palestinian state mean an end to Israeli occupation? Will it lessen U.S. power in the region? Will it create a grassroots Palestinian mobilization?
Al Jazeera’s Roxanne Horesh explores these questions and others with academics, analysts and activists in her report, “Debating the UN bid for Palestinian statehood.”
Here are some quotes from these analysts:
Avi Schlaim, professor of International Relations at Oxford University:
“Until now America and Israel control this process. The basis of negotiations was on Israeli terms.”
“US President George W Bush was a complete nightmare for the Palestinians. He gave Sharon a complete free hand [over] the Palestinians.”
Hassan Jabareen, lawyer and founder Adalah Legal Center for Arab minority rights in Israel:
“International human rights law is stronger than UN resolutions. It mandates that every state should treat its citizens equally and that every refugee should return to his or her homeland. Thus, the September 2011 resolution may create a new struggle between international human rights law, which the Palestinians ironically will fight to uphold…”
Daniel Levy, former advisor to Israeli cabinet ministers, now a US-based analyst:
“The only viable Palestinian path to full UN membership is via the Security Council, and that route is blocked by the certainty of a US veto.”
Noura Erakat, human rights attorney and adjunct professor of International Human Rights Law in the Middle East at Georgetown University:
“We should be asking: What is the right strategy more broadly at this juncture of Palestinian national determination? The aftermath of the Palestine Papers, what can confidently be called the failure of the peace process and the two-state solution, and the context of the Arab Spring, should inform what tactics and other strategies are, including statehood.”
Dan Gillerman, Israel’s 13th Permanent Representative to the UN:
“At the end of the day, they [Palestinians] may get UN recognition, but they will not get a state.”
“I think basically there are two things in life that people shouldn’t do in public – make love and make peace – and they should both be done with your eyes slightly shut and the lights slightly dim. What we do need is a very secret, discreet, and quiet back channel that will bring both parties together to the negotiating table and reach an agreement on Palestinian statehood.”
Husam Zomlot, senior official in Fatah’s Department of Foreign Relations, holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, currently in New York representing the PLO at the 66th UN General Assembly:
“Strategically, our interest is to challenge the status quo. You may ask: “How this will challenge the status quo? How has Israel sustained the status quo for nearly twenty years?“
“The bilateral process has led nowhere, and one of the tools to sustain the status quo was negotiations themselves. We stopped that, and we stopped that strategically. Negotiations under the previous terms were just prolonging negotiations. The terms of reference were created and accepted by Israel before we even started. We are not going back to the old days of nonsense.”
What are your thoughts about Palestine’s fight for statehood?
How do you feel about the U.S. and Israel’s opposition to a Palestinian state?